Embarking on a Journey to Ukraine in pursuit of sport
August 31, 2023
Billy Murray’s name is synonymous with fighting, namely kickboxing. However, this weekend he travels to the war torn city of Odesa, Ukraine to meet local dignitaries all in the name of peace making. A connection between Murray and the Mayor of the city, Gennady Trukhanov has developed in recent months based around their shared love of martial arts and in particular Muay Thai & kickboxing. Murray’s humanitarian efforts have previously been endorsed by UNICEF at the launch of The PeaceFighters initiative in 2006 in Geneva. Under The PeaceFighters banner, Murray has provided opportunity for many young people to come together from different community backgrounds to compete internationally in kickboxing. Now, he sees an opportunity to do something similar for the people of Ukraine.
Murray's journey this weekend will involve him meeting the local council of Odesa, visiting a Muay Thai gym and attending a charity boxing event on Saturday evening. He will spend time with locals listening to their stories and sharing his; encouraging them to find hope and strength through training and sport.
But that’s not all. Belfast City Council along with Murray’s ProKick gym will then extend a welcome to a group of Ukrainian fighters in October, as they travel to enjoy some solace from their difficult day to day reality and experience some hope from our post-conflict city. While they are here, two Ukrainians will also fight for the chance to become the WKN World Champion at ProKick’s Bash and Mash show in the Stormont Hotel on 21st October. Dundonald’s Golden Boy, Jay Snoddon, current WKN Featherweight K1 World Champion will defend his title against one of Ukraine’s top kickboxing talent and is revelling at the thought of competing against someone from a country as renowned as Ukraine for producing top combat sports talent.
Murray believes that peace is worth fighting for and his trip to Ukraine this weekend will be another chapter in the PeaceFighters history that will no doubt bring hope to those who need it most.
Embarking on this exhilarating adventure alongside Murray is the talented filmmaker Jim Crone, who's set to capture all the heart-stopping action for an upcoming documentary on Belfast's own Billy Murray. This award-winning cinematographer has dedicated years to crafting the captivating story of Murray, with the final masterpiece expected to be unveiled by year's end. Get ready to witness the extraordinary journey of Billy Murray like never before!